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City of Hope Research

During my time at City of Hope, I learned a lot about the importance of nutrition and health. I explored the pathophysiology of heart disease, the implications of food deserts, and the differences between GMO, organic, and conventionally grown foods. In addition to gaining in-depth knowledge of the science and significance of cholesterol, fats, sugars, carbohydrates, superfoods and their relation to diet and disease, I conducted and presented an independent literature-based research project on the connection of nutrition and cortisol levels to the prevention of adverse birth outcomes, such as preterm births, preeclampsia, and low birth weight to a panel of judges and researchers. Earning this internship opportunity has been eye-opening and has not only significantly developed my understanding of how various illnesses and health issues related to diet and nutrition but has also immensely aided in my knowledge of maternal health and pregnancy. I have included my research presentation and research proposal that I created during my time at COH down below.



     The biggest takeaway from this COH Science and Nutrition Program is how important it is to maintain a balanced diet with rich nutrients. I learned so much more from the program than I had anticipated. To be honest, prior to this class I never used to consider the toxic foods I was constantly putting into my body and how it would affect my health. Since I have started this program, I have paid attention to my health so much more than before. I have tried to reduce some of the unhealthy saturated fats and trans fat from my diet. Now, I look at nutrition labels and I can actually understand how to decipher and understand what I should be looking for. Now, I understand what a balanced diet looks like and how to maintain a healthy diet. Although this course was challenging for me, I am still so grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in this program. I know that I will carry the knowledge I have gained from this course along with me my whole life as it has shifted the way I choose my meals and diet. 

     The most interesting piece of information I got out of this course is the effect of food deserts on society. I am interested in public health as a career, so learning about improving the health of food desert communities intrigued me the most. I also loved our class conversation at the end of our class when I was able to know Ms. Ulloa and Ms. Guardado better. Similar to what Ms. Ulloa said, I am also extremely hard on myself and always expect perfection in my work. I love how we discussed how being a woman in science is difficult because you feel as if there is something you need to prove. I resonated with the comment because I have always been very interested in science and math. However, whenever my science or math skills are compared to that of a male’s it always discourages me because I feel as if I need to prove myself and show that my skills or knowledge are just as sufficient as theirs. There is an oppressive stigma that women should not major in anything related to science or math because males are naturally better. However, I do not agree with that stereotype and I hope to enter the science or math field in order to dismantle that assumption. There is a lack of women in STEM because of the oppressive system that advocates that women are less competent than men. I have experienced and seen this several times before, and I want to change people’s heavily biased assumptions. I was first pleasantly surprised when I realized that two female teachers were teaching this course because I rarely see women in STEM. Seeing two successful women teaching this course really inspired me to do the same and pursue my interest in science and math. 

     Given everything that I have learned from this course, I feel so much more educated about how food impacts our society today. This course has changed the way I look at the food I eat on a daily basis. Before the course even though I always appreciated food, I never thought about the story behind the food I ate, why I ate it, and the impact it would have on my health. These last four weeks have been an eye-opening experience that has influenced me in more ways than I can describe. In this course, I learned how different foods cause diseases and adverse health outcomes. I realize that there are so many simple steps we can take to work towards a healthier lifestyle and the significance of adding rich nutrients into our diet. I love that at the end, I am able to give my own presentation on a topic of my choice. I have always wanted to research more about the relation between prenatal stress and adverse health outcomes, so this course really gave me the opportunity to dive into this topic. After reading many research articles, I created my own experimental study. Though I used my three research articles as a guide to help me create my experimental study, I made sure that my methodology, tools, and devices were different from the articles so that it would produce accurate and the best results. I am so appreciative that I had the opportunity of joining this class.

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